Update 14: 2:00 PM Everest: All team members are back safely resting in their tents in camp four at the South Col. It is very unlikely they will descend to camp two given the late hour.
Update 13: 10:45 AM Everest: All team members are below the South Summit and descending slowly. After more than 12 hours on the route, fatigue is setting in. The most difficult climbing is behind them, but staying aware and staying safe is of paramount importance now. It will likely be four hours or more before all team members are safely resting, re-hydrating and refueling in camp four.
We’d like to take this opportunity to recognize our expedition sponsors for their significant contributions to the No Guts Know Glory Seven Summits Campaign. ConvaTec has supported Rob over numerous previous climbs – they are a leading manufacturer of ostomy and wound care products – and they are behind the outstanding Great Comebacks™ Award, recognizing people living extraordinary lives with an ostomy. Abbott Laboratories, who initially became involved through the IBD Adventures program and then become a major sponsor of the 2010 No Guts Know Glory Everest Expedition, are a leading manufacturer of inflammatory bowel disease related pharmaceuticals. Without ConvaTec’s and Abbott’s significant contributions to the campaign, Rob’s climb would not be possible and his story could not be told on this website.
The No Guts Know Glory Campaign raises awareness of intestinal disease and ostomy, as well as raise funds for programs of IDEAS, the Intestinal Disease Education and Awareness Society, a not-for-profit founded by Rob Hill. Rob is trying to raise $29,035 for his non-profit, IDEAS, during his Everest climb. That’s one dollar for each foot above sea level he must climb to achieve his dream. To help him reach this lofty goal, please donate online now, or if you’d prefer, send a cheque to the IDEAS office:
#521 – 119 West Pender Street
Vancouver, BC, V5L 2N4
All donations over $20 will receive a Canadian tax receipt for charitable giving. For more information on IDEAS and its programs, please click here.
Update 12: 9:45 AM Everest: “I’m on the summit!” yelled John Furneaux, Canada West Mountain School Everest Guide into his radio through the quickening wind. “But I’m not lingering.” Literally in a touch and go effort, John dashed from the South Summit where Rob topped out, across the traverse to the Hillary Step, up and over the crux move prior to the summit ridge, and then with one foot in Tibet and one in Nepal, John raced to catch Darrell on the summit. “Darrell reached the summit at about 9:15 AM. The winds are building so he snapped a few pictures with Mingma and Teng Dorje Sherpas and then started down. When we passed each other just meters from the summit he was all smiles. I know Darrell is elated to have climbed Everest.”
The climb isn’t over. The NGKG team is all in agreement this summit doesn’t count until everyone is back in base camp safely. Today, they’ll move back down to the South Col as quick as safely possible. Depending on weather, energy levels and timing, they may attempt to rappel down the Lhotse Face to camp two and thicker air.
Updates will become less frequent now: John will radio from the South Summit but then we will lose radio contact for several hours until the climbers near camp four. The wind has picked up, though remains moderate, and the cloud cover has moved off to give the climbers a partly sunny descent.
Update 11: 9:30 AM Everest: Darrell Ainscough is standing on top of the world. Darrell has finished his 7Summits quest! John Furneaux is above the Hillary Step, only meters from his second trip to the top of Everest. “I’m so thrilled by what Darrell and Rob have done here today,” said John from the Hillary Step via radio. “For both of them, this is their second attempt at this mountain and they’ve both had to overcome so many obstacles to come so high. When we get down we’ll explain just how difficult the climb was last night. For now, let’s all just bask in the successes of this outstanding team.”
Dawa Sherpa is accompanying Rob back down to the South Col. Teng Dorje and Mingma are on the summit with Darrell.
Update 10: 8:45 AM Everest: Rob Hill has finished his Seven Summits dream! “I’ve gone as high as I ever will,” said a elated sounding Rob from the South Summit. “John and I have been sitting here for the past 30 minutes talking about all that we’ve done, all that IDEAS has managed to accomplish and all that this 7Summit campaign has done for people fighting inflammatory bowel diseases and living with an ostomy. Even though my Everest summit sits several hundred meters below the true summit, I can hold my head high with pride. I will come home safe to my family and loved ones. I don’t have the energy to continue. The hours I spent in the South Col drained me of everything, I’ve given it my all, my best and I am happy to be here with my good friends and climbing partners. Darrell is within spitting distance of the summit now along with our three Sherpas. John and I will sit here and bask in his glory as he, too, finishes his 7Summits dream today.”
Update 9: 8:20 AM Everest: Every step feels like a mile. Between each movement of the feet Rob, Darrell and John stop for several breaths, their lungs aching for oxygen despite the bottled O’s they breath through their Top Out systems. The masks they wear resemble the ones you’ve seen painters use to protect their lungs. A complex system of valves and hoses mix the natural thin air at 8700 meters with the slow leak of concentrated oxygen coming from the cylinders they carry in their back packs. The oxygen adds to the dryness the climbers sense with every breath, compounding the dehydration they feel at this elevation no matter how much fluid they consume. Legs burn, lungs ache, the brain slows down to mirror the step, breath, breath, breath, step, breath, breath rhythm that has taken over the climbers for the past 10 hours and more.
Rob, Teng Dorje and John are together below the Hillary Step; Darrell, Mingma and Dawa are either just above the step or currently navigating it.
Update 8: 7:45 AM Everest: Once over the South Summit, the team will have to descend about 15 meters over a tricky piece of rock. They then traverse a ledge along a ridge line towards the Hillary Step. The traverse, while not terribly difficult to find decent footholds, presents psychological challenges for climbers as it’s a sheer drop for thousands of meters below. But don’t worry, the climbers are roped in the entire time.
Update 7: 7:00 AM Everest: We’ve just spoke with John Furneaux via radio from the South Summit. Darrell and a Sherpa have continued past and are nearing the Hillary Step. Rob is feeling the effects of 60 plus hours above 8000 meters but is moving consistently forward and feels confident that he will have enough gas in his tank to summit and return to the South Col safely. John and two Sherpas are with him. We should have consistent radio contact from here to the summit so updates will be more frequent. Rob thanks everyone for the online encouragement. All members of the team are showing no signs of high altitude sickness. John reports that wind speeds are relatively light and are not an issue, and the cloud cover is causing no visibility problems.
Update 6: 6:45 AM Everest: We’ve had report that the No Guts Know Glory team is climbing alongside members of the RMI expedition and have passed the South Summit and are now very close to the bottom of the Hillary Step. We have been unable to reach our climbers via radio, but we believe all members of the team are still moving towards the summit. This puts them within 2 hours of the peak.
The wind has stayed consistent since sunrise, likely gusting to around 30 miles per hour above 8000 meters. High level cloud cover is starting to fill in, though it does not appear to present any issues for the climbers at this time.
Update 5: 5:45 AM Everest: The sun is rising and the sky is becoming light. Soon it will bring some much needed respite from the bitter cold of the night. Unfortunately, with the sun, inevitably comes the wind and this morning looks to be no exception. If Rob, Darrell and John reach the summit this morning, they will have overcome very difficult climbing conditions to do so.
We haven’t heard from the team in some time. This is normal for this section of the route as much of it is blocked out by the surrounding mountains. We believe they are somewhere near the South Summit, perhaps even just beyond, approaching the Hillary Step. If the winds are moderate, as we believe they are, we expect the team to focus on climbing and stay off the radio. There are few clouds in the sky, so we do not foresee any snowfall over the next few hours at least.
Update 4: 2:30 AM Everest: When the team reaches the Balcony, they’ll move across the area towards a snow arete that will take them up to the Triangular Face. The Triangular Face is a band of smooth rock, rising at almost 60 degrees up to the South Summit. Fixed lines will make this section of climbing easier, but the climbers will be tested physically by the thin air, the exposure and the sheer effort required to ascend. The views from the South Summit will be amazing though.
In Canada, it’s estimated there are over 200,000 people suffering from an inflammatory bowel disease and an additional 50,000 people living with an ostomy. Today, Rob Hill, a Canadian living with Crohn’s Disease and an Ostomy, is attempting to reach the top of the world to bring awareness to an illness and a surgery so that others like him will not suffer in silence. You can help him close out his 7Summits campaign by making a donationto his non-profit IDEAS. Rob is trying to raise one dollar per foot of Everest elevation, $29,035, that will be given to a new inflammatory bowel disease research facility at the University of British Columbia Okanagan campus.
Update 3: 10:45 PM Everest: The team is making their way from the South Col to the Balcony. Temperatures are crisp tonight, nearing -30. To protect themselves against the cold, each climber is wearing a high altitude suit made of 800-fill down, much like a high quality sleeping bag. On their feet, they are wearing double boots that rise to their knees. The boots have inner layers of insulating foam and liners and an outer plastic shell covered in a wind and waterproof material that provides extra protection for their down suits. Of course, strapped to their boots are crampons – sharp spikes that provide outstanding grip on the icy, rocky terrain they are navigating.
The down suits are worn over top of base layers of long underwear – Icebreakers are the choice of John Furneaux – mid layers of fleece and GoreTex pants and jackets. The guys are all wearing ski goggles to protect their eyes and their mouths and noses are covered by their Top Out oxygen masks. On their hands they have double gloves of fleece and GoreTex mitts. Rob, Darrell and John are using chemical heat packs inside their gloves to provide added warmth. Each climber is carrying a small backpack for their oxygen cylinder. At the flow rate they expect to use, Rob, John and Darrell should get about seven hours of oxygen from each bottle.
The trip from the South Col to the Balcony is one of the longest sections of the south route on Everest pioneered by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa that the NGKG team is following. It could be several more hours before they arrive on the Balcony.
8:15 PM Everest: Rob Hill and Darrell Ainscough have left camp four to realize their Seven Summits dream accompanied by their guide John Furneaux and Sherpas Teng Dorje, Mingma and Dawa. The weather has decided to cooperate beautifully. The skies are clear and winds are light from the summit all the way down to base camp. We’ve lit the Puja fire in base camp and asked for safe passage up and down the mountain over the coming hours.
The climbers will move up the mountain using headlamps to light their way. They have the added benefit of an almost full moon tonight to lead them upwards. The sun will begin to come over the horizon shortly after five in the morning, but need an addition 90 minutes to truly rise over the Tibetan plateau giving the climbers an incredible view from the top of the world.
Please offer your support in the comments and we’ll pass on your encouragement via radio as the night goes on.
5:00 PM Everest: During the day, the weather has cleared up enough to make a summit attempt a realistic option. Winds at the South Col remain light and the snowfall has stopped accumulating on the ground. The team plans to leave C4 at around 7:30 PM Everest time. Two other well-established climbing expeditions will also leave the South Col at the same time. Rob, Darrell, John, Mingma, Dawa and Teng Dorje Sherpas will need all the help they can to compress the newly snowed trail.
“It’s going to be hard climbing tonight,” said John Furneaux, who reached the summit of Everest in 2008. “With fresh snow on the ground and few climbers ahead of us to pack it down, we’re going to have heavy feet. But I’m confident if the weather holds that we’ve done all the right things in camp four to prepare ourselves for the challenge ahead. I won’t guess when we’ll summit, but if we do, we will have worked hard for it. I know Darrell and Rob are climbing stronger this expedition than they ever have before. We have a really good chance to get this done.”
“Surprisingly, I feel pretty good, despite having been at almost 8000 meters for over two days already,” said a relieved sounding Rob from the South Col via radio. “Normally, climbers wouldn’t plan to spend 48 hours in total at this elevation during their summit push. But I’ve been drinking and eating lots, getting fairly decent sleep and going for lots of short walks to keep my legs and lungs activated. We haven’t been breathing very rich oxygen mixtures yet, so going up on three liters per minute will feel great, hopefully. Before we go, I want to say thanks to everyone for following this blog and keeping us in your thoughts. I want to let friends and family back home know that they are in my thoughts tonight, especially my girls, all of you, and that you’re energy will keep me safe and exercising good judgment in the thin air. I also want to remind readers that I’m trying to raise money for my charity, IDEAS, so if you haven’t donated already, please give now. If you have already donated, first, thank you, and second, you can still help by emailing your friends and family, or sharing this site on Facebook, letting them know about my IBD and ostomy awareness campaign and this summit push today.”
The summit push began on May 18, 2010. Rob Hill is trying to raise $29,035 for his non-profit, IDEAS, during his Everest climb. That’s one dollar for each foot above sea level he must climb to achieve his dream. To help him reach this lofty goal, please donate online now, or if you’d prefer, send a cheque to the IDEAS office:
#521 – 119 West Pender Street
Vancouver, BC, V5L 2N4
All donations over $20 will receive a Canadian tax receipt for charitable giving. For more information on IDEAS and its programs, please click here.No tags for this post.